Apple ditching 3.5mm headphone jack on iPhone 7

According to reports everywhere, Apple is planning to abandon the 100 year old 3.5mm headphone jack on the coming iPhone 7. What do you all think about that?

I realize that technology topics don’t get a ton of attention in these parts, but this seems to be creating a lot of debate around the interwebs so I figure I’d toss it out there.

Some initial thoughts:
[li]Only Apple can pull this off, not sure if it’s cache, a fawning fanbase or just balls, but everyone else would crash and burn if they tried this. [/li][li]Really a bummer that they are going to use Lightning instead of USB C for this, maybe it’s the next step forward but proprietary connectors are a scourge.[/li][li]Supposedlly the main driver for this is making the phones thinner…I have to ask, who the heck is asking for thinner phones?[/li][li]I wonder if they’ll have 2 ports, maybe one on top and bottom, or if you won’t be able to charge and listen at the same time.[/li][li]Lots of people are going to be PISSED they need to buy new headphones.[/li][li]I think allowing for new tech like batteryless noice cancelling and 3D sound are going to be pretty excellent.[/li][li]I think it’ll be great to have inline controls that are actually reliable.[/li][li]I wonder if the digital cables will be more or less prone to interference from static electricity and cord noise. [/li][/ul]

What do you folks think? Is Apple out over it’s skis with this one? Are they going to alienate a percentage of their audience here? Is it about time? Is this all misinformation?

Apple is also rumored to be planning to include wireless charging and to sell a new set of Bluetooth “Airpods” that lack wires entirely and don’t even have a charging port. Going to be interesting I suspect.

It took me years (literal years) to find a pair of earbuds that will stay in my ears* and they, of course, have a 3.5mm plug. Guess I’m glad I’m an Android kind of guy.

  • Xiaomi Piston 3’s for anyone keeping score

Ast: “Hey! We don’t serve their kind here!”

Luke: “What?”

Apple store tech: “Your droids.”

Yeah…I actually shipped a phone back in the early 2000s that didn’t have a headset jack - we used some of the pins on the USB connector. People didn’t like it. But we weren’t Apple.

We did have some special adapters that allowed for audio and charging at the same time.

If it works it’s only a matter of time before all these cool new headphones will come in a Lightning and USB-C version…

Wonder how unpleasant the Lightning-to-3.5mm converters will be. I’m sure they’ll suck a lot.


that is all…

I am sure some kind of adapter will be available, but it will probably cost 80 bucks.

I would think that a converter would be very prone to breakage or failure, simply due to it needing to be long enough for the 3.5mm, the slim Lightning port end and its location poking out of the phone (which is then possibly rolling around in your pocket, bag, etc). Seems like a leverage point for something to snap or at least wear out the contacts quickly. I don’t doubt that they’ll exist but I’m not convinced that they won’t be garbage.

It could be a cable instead of a connector. Provides flexibility to mitigate the leverage issue.

Plus, such an adapter would likely negate whatever advantage of compactness such a new iPhone is supposed to provide.

Like you, I looked long and hard for earphones that would provide both excellent sound and be comfortable to wear, and finally settled on a set of regular-size open-air headphones that I use with everything, and that are worth almost as much as a whole new iPhone. So it’s not a matter of being “pissed” at having to buy new headphones, it’s a matter that it ain’t gonna happen.

Some of the new tech described in the OP sounds nice, but this sort of proprietary BS is why a lot of folks I know have left the Apple ecosystem entirely.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really can’t see myself buying any new Apple products once my current laptop is done. I don’t understand this desire for the thinnest, lightest thing possible; I really don’t like the lack of upgradability (even if it is just adding a new hard drive or more RAM) in their new laptop lines; I really wanted a new iPod Classic but obviously can’t get one now; and I can get things as good or better for less money.

Despite having to root it I’ve been very happy overall with my old Kindle Fire and I might get myself a Nexus 9 or a Pixel C if I finally decide I need something new in the near future. Similarly, I like my Nexus 5. What can I say? I like running stock unlocked Android.

I’m not sure what my opinion is here.

When Apple did something similar with USB it turned out to have been a brilliant move and ultimately made MORE devices available for everyone, with better compatibility.

Looking at my own habits… in the last six months, I’ve actually spent more time listening to music on built-in speakers or bluetooth devices and I really haven’t used my best headsets. (On the other hand, I hate the process of un-pairing and re-pairing bluetooth connections, so I tend to figure out which audio device I want and then find my phone/tablet that’s paired with it. That’s stupid.)

I also got burned with a Bose docking station that was made entirely worthless when Apple went to their new connector in the iPhone 5. The docking station has no other inputs than the old Apple iPhone connector, making a nice piece of audio equipment an expensive paperweight. So this kind of nonsense is one reason I’ll never put more than $20 into audio equipment ever again. I guess that hurts third parties more than Apple.

Ultimately, though, my vote was cast in November when I bought an Android phone instead.

Three thumbs up on the Android. My $99 LG outperforms my old iPhone and doesn’t need any propritary cables or adapters. Apple phones are horridly overpriced unless you commit to a contract, in which case monthly service costs twice as much as no-contract service.

Good thing I keep my IT gear for 4 or even 5 years before replacing. I can continue to use my legacy accessories for a long while. OTOH it means I accumulate far too many legacy accessories.

I am in particular agreement with one of the questions in the OP: Who the heck is asking for thinner phones? But at the same time y’know why they keep coming up with bells and whistles and modifications nobody asked for?

Because the vocal public and trade press and the stock pundits keep raising a hue and cry when anyone actually dares go a whole year without changing anything or issuing a new model or finding SOME excuse to make people buy again even if what they have works perfectly well. On whatever you can think of, just make people stand in line to buy a new one. Or else your company is troubled and not innovating and your stock will go down.

Put me in the camp of this-will-prevent-me-from-buying-an-iPhone-7. I have two sets of headphones - large, heavy, noise-canceling ones that I mostly use on flights, and a light set for running. Neither are expensive, but the process of finding ones I liked was frustrating and time-consuming. I have no desire to go through it again. I’d rather learn a new mobile OS.

I guess I could go the adapter route, but what do I get in exchange for the inconvenience? A thinner phone? No thanks - I’d rather have a slightly fatter phone with superior battery life.

I do wonder if Apple is starting to the lose track of what people actually want. It’ll be interesting to see if what seems like an arrogant, anti-consumer decision has any impact on sales for this iPhone refresh cycle. Or maybe it’s all just rumors and the iPhone 7 will have the 3.5mm audio port after all.

To play Devil’s advocate here, the marketing folks would say that this change is a huge benefit for folks like you. The Lightning connector allows the iPhone to supply both the power and the processing that those big, heavy, clunky noise cancelling headphones require. The end result is that you only need 1 set of headphones, they’ll be as light and portable as your running set and still deliver all the benefits of the bulky ones. And because you need fewer specialized pairs you can afford to spend a little more for higher quality.

Though, there’s nothing stopping companies from developing these today apart from the inertia of the legacy port, so who knows.

What are you referring to? If you mean the adoption of USB-C, I don’t yet see very many devices available for it.

Agreed Manduck.

It isn’t a paperweight. There are Bluetooth receivers that a designed just for that speaker (the Bose Sounddock).

I’ll look at the phone’s full set of features when it ships and decide if I want it. I’m certainly not going to make my decision on something as trivial as whether I need an adaptor for the headset (particularly since I rarely use my phone as a music device, anyway).

I’m trying to understand the mindset that finds a phone that “plugs into an occasional use accessory differently than it used to” to be unacceptable, but a phone for which the vast majority of all software is malware–in which any personal information on the phone is almost certain to be compromised–to be the more desirable choice.